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VFACTS: Slow start to 2019 vehicle sales

Still Hi: Toyota’s HiLux helped the Japanese giant go against the negative flow in January to increase company sales by 4.3 per cent.

Sales down 7.4 per cent in January as wary consumers keep wallets closed

5 Feb 2019

THE Australian new-vehicle market continued its downward spiral in January, with sales falling 7.4 per cent on the same month last year, according to official VFACTS sales data.

The monthly tally of 81,994 vehicles was the lowest January total since 2012 when car manufacturers reported 76,783 sales as the market came out of the global financial crisis.
All major vehicle segments – passenger, SUV and light commercials – were down, providing another indicator that the economy has hit troubled waters.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) CEO Tony Weber blamed the fall on lower levels of consumer confidence.
“The current economic environment is a challenging one, with an imminent federal election, a declining real estate market and tighter lending practices,” he said.
But as they say in the classics, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Market colossus Toyota shrugged off the negativity to increase its sales by 4.3 per cent with a fast-start push to kick off the new year.
Led by the dominant HiLux ute (3951 sales), Toyota grabbed 15,961 sales to increase its market share to 19.5 per cent – up from 17.3 per cent in January last year – and naturally slot into the number one position, ready for a seventh consecutive year of domination.
Second-placed Mazda – usually a strong performer in January when private buyers are in the ascendancy – slipped 6.2 per cent, to 9490 units. This is despite having the top-selling passenger car, the Mazda3, with 2831 sales, and the best-selling SUV, the CX-5 (2347).
Like Toyota, Mitsubishi swam against the market trend by increasing sales by 26.7 per cent, banking 6669 sales and a company-record 8.1 per cent market share to leapfrog Hyundai into third place
Hyundai suffered a troubling 12.9 per cent sales decline, to 6205 vehicles, while South Korean compatriot Kia slipped up to fifth place with 4651 sales, a gain of 2.6 per cent.
Kia’s march up the sales ladder was made easier by the continuing decline of the once dominant American-owned companies, Ford and Holden, which slumped 21.7 and 27.1 per cent respectively.
Ford’s biggest worry will be a decline of about 20 per cent in sales of its top-selling Ranger ute which makes up half of its sales in Australia.
Holden lodged a historically low market share of 5.1 per cent from its 4167 sales, down from 6.5 per cent in January 2018.
Despite an 11.8 per cent fall of year-on-year sales, Honda made it to eighth place on the sales ladder with 4042 sales, ahead of Nissan (3803, -19.2%) and Volkswagen (3617, -9.1%).
SUV sales suffered a hiccup in January, with a decline of 5.1 per cent over the corresponding month last year, but nevertheless increased their hold on the market to a record 43.8 per cent share.
And while light-commercial vehicle sales dropped 5.8 per cent, these workhorses also increased share to 19.3 per cent.
In the luxury car market, BMW beat arch-rival Mercedes-Benz in passenger car and SUV sales for the first time in years, with BMW notching 2060 units (-2.4%) to Benz’s 2034 (-29.8%).
Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia/Pacific is blaming new European emissions rules that have caused a logjam of paperwork at head office, leaving Australian dealers short of stock in critical segments.
On the bright side for Mercedes, its top-selling C-Class is back in business after a hiatus due to these paperwork problems, achieving 622 sales in January – up 26.4 per cent.
BMW dominated in luxury SUV sales, with vehicles such as the X5 up 30.7 per cent.


Top 10 selling brands January 2019

Ranking Brand Sales Variance%
1 Toyota 15,961 +4.3
2 Mazda 9490 -6.2
3 Mitsubishi 6669 +26.7
4 Hyundai 6205 -12.9
5 Kia 4651 +2.6
6 Ford 4421 -21.7
7 Holden 4167 -27.1
8 Honda 4042 -11.8
9 Nissan 3803 -19.2
10 Volkswagen 3617 -9.1


Top 10 selling models January 2019

Ranking Make/Model Sales
1 Toyota HiLux 3951
2 Mazda3 2831
3 Ford Ranger 2564
4 Toyota Corolla 2417
5 Mazda CX-5 2347
6 Hyundai i30 1891
7 Mitsubishi ASX 1818
8 Toyota RAV4 1800
9 Mitsubishi Triton 1697
10 Holden Colorado 1544

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